Sexy character design, fluid animation, great voice actors, action in high definition! 24 exciting episodes of Blassreiter, Saturdays at 26:00 JST on TVK. What more could you ask for?
Less dorky computer-generated monsters straddling motorbikes, perhaps. As we all know, Gonzo can do no wrong, and now they’re teaming up with porn game producing Nitro+ to create a brand new media franchise. I write “porn game”, but it’s not like I really know, because mum won’t let me play them. Moving on, the director attached to the anime project is Itano Ichirou, known for Gantz and various involvement in Macross and Megazone 23. The concept was thought up by Urobuchi Gen, who’s been writing the Fate/Zero novelizations and some of the naughty games just mentioned. Head writer will be Kobayashi Yasuko, who has a long list of successful shows, including Shakugan no Shana and Claymore.
Germany needs more Japanese tourists, so this anime is set there in a not so distant future. Super genius bike racer Gerd loses function of his legs in a strange attack by a naked woman who turns into a monstrous creature that fuses with random weapons and goes on a killing spree during one of his races, culminating in a bike chase as the monster fuses with one of the bikes. Special Monster Suppression Unit XAT is called in to take care of the aggressor, but it’s too late, and the injuries Gerd suffers leave him unable to walk, much less ride a bike again. Sad cripples make for fairly poor action adventures, however, so a mysterious lady (referred to as Beatrice in the credits) appears with a magic pill (the red one) and offers it to Gerd. She informs him it can have some terrible side-effects, but that it theoretically should restore his body to its former splendour, nay, mayhap something better even. He takes it, obviously, because his girlfriend has left him (can’t love sick people), and he’s been fired (can’t hire wheelchair racers). Meanwhile, his buddy Helmer at XAT is having some trouble with another fusing abomination holding his partner Amanda hostage, but in the nick of time, a friendly fusing abomination pops up to make short work of the hideous enemy. Then it morphs into Gerd, and everyone looks really surprised. There’s also a very short glimpse of a scarred man the website names Joseph, but we’re probably not supposed to know that he’s the real hero of the show yet (sorry).
Say what you will about the plot, but Gonzo knows how to animate stuff, with scenes looking clean and detailed in what is noticeably HD. The character design is also quite delectable, with hot chicks and handsome men that might turn me on if I was just gay enough. The design is fairly GITSy, if you will. There’s only one tiny problem. A small one many will overlook. Half the episode is modeled in a computer, in particular monsters and vehicles, but also random shots of humans in protective suits. The effect is a bit like watching cut scenes in Halo, and I can’t take it seriously. Musically it’s decent enough, with a fairly understated soundtrack by Hibino Norihiko, with previous involvement in the Metal Gear Solid series. The cast is enough to make any seiyuu otaku produce sticky underwear, with the strong voice of Shizuka Itou (Lenalee Lee in D.Gray-Man) as Amanda, Ishizuka Unshou (Jet Black in Cowboy Bebop) as Gerd, Miyake Kenta (Tsume in Wolf’s Rain) as Helmer, and, if he ever opens his mouth, Matsukaze Masaya (Kyouya in Ouran) as Joseph. The supporting characters are also quite amazing, with Oohara Sayaka, Endou Aya, Hiyama Nobuyuki, Nakamura Yuuichi, etc, etc, and the list goes on.
They’re trying, and they’re trying really, really hard. Lots of money must have gone into this, because it does look sort of fancy. Yet it doesn’t help. The world isn’t ready for this much CG in anime, not until they can make it look like a human actually held a pen in order to draw it. When it’s this out of place, the only result is a smirk on my face, because it looks so silly. It’s farther ruined because anyone who watched Dragonaut will instantly be reminded of Gonzo’s massive failure. I watched and loved Kaleido Star more than anything, and they helped make that, so I’ll always have a soft spot for Gonzo, and Gankutsuou was great; even Last Exile was worth watching. But this time? I think I’ll pass.
Like Druaga, you can watch this anime subtitled for free on Youtube, thanks to the admirable effort to beat out fansubbing activities.